FOUR CHARGED IN COCAINE CONSPIRACY
Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, Mark R. Trouville, Special Agent in Charge, Drug Enforcement Administration, Miami Field Division, Tammy Roane, Resident Agent in Charge, Florida Department of Law Enforcement, Paul C. May, Okeechobee County Sheriff, and Donald Shinnamon, Chief, Port St. Lucie Police Department, announced on Friday, December 3, 2010, the indictment of defendants Victor Hugo Rodriguez, 32, of Canal Point, Juan Tavarez Sanches, 35, of Pahokee, Adolfo Armenta, 26, of Ocean City, MD, and Elias Alvarado, 39, of Mexico. All defendants were arraigned Friday before U.S. Magistrate Judge Frank J. Lynch.
The defendants are charged with conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute 500 grams or more of cocaine hydrochloride, in violation of Title 21, United States Code, Section 846, and possession with intent to distribute 500 grams or more of cocaine hydrochloride, in violation of Title 21, United States Code, Section 841(a)(1). If convicted, each charge carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 5 years and up to life imprisonment.
According to the affidavit filed in support of the criminal complaint and in-court statements during a detention hearing, Rodriguez and Sanches met with confidential sources from October 24, 2010 through November 21, 2010, and negotiated the sale of 3 to10 kilograms of cocaine. Rodriguez and Sanches set the purchase price at $31,000 per kilogram. Several of the meetings occurred in fast food restaurants in Pahokee, Florida.
According to in-court statements, Rodriguez and Sanches told the sources that the cocaine would be coming from Mexico and would be driven to Florida. On November 21, 2010, Rodriguez and Sanches updated the purported buyer on the status of the load, stating that the loaded car had reached Florida and was headed south to Port St. Lucie. Thereafter, the sources met Rodriguez and Sanches at a pre-arranged location in St Lucie County, where they picked up the cocaine from a car driven by defendant Armenta; defendant Alvarado was the passenger. The defendants were arrested at the scene. A subsequent search of the car resulted in the seizure of three kilograms of cocaine.
Mr. Ferrer commended the investigative efforts of the DEA, FDLE, Okeechobee County Sheriff’s Office Narcotics Task Force and the Port St. Lucie Police Department. The case is being handled by Assistant U.S. Attorney Carmen Lineberger.
A complaint is only an accusation, and a defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Florida at http://www.usdoj.gov/usao/fls. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at http://www.flsd.uscourts.gov or on http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.gov.